Miami – Florida – USA Attractions, Tourism and Vacation

World Travel
Miami – Florida – USA Travel Guide
Miami – Florida – USA Attractions, Tourism and Vacation
Miami travel guide

Miami is almost more Latin American than simply American – famed for its sunny weather, savoir faire, legendary party scene and super-cool South Beach style.

Miami and its neighbouring city Miami Beach are cities of emotion, colour and texture. Much of Miami’s appeal is due to its diverse neighbourhoods, which range from towering, contemporary skyscrapers in Downtown Miami (the commercial heart of the city) to Little Havana, home to its thriving Cuban community. Meanwhile, the Port of Miami is the world’s largest cruise port.

Miami Beach is world-renowned for its ‘gold coast’ hotel strip, palatial properties and exceptional outdoor recreational facilities. Its glamorous, see-and-be-seen South Beach neighbourhood is instantly recognisable, with its candy-coloured art deco buildings set against a pure South Florida backdrop of cloudless skies, dazzling blue ocean, pale sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. Beautiful, tanned bodies parade the sands and everyone dresses – or dresses down – to impress. This is a city where sporting speedos on Ocean Drive — and little else — will barely raise an eyebrow.

Throw in plenty of celebrity kudos — the likes of Will Smith and P Diffy are regular visitors — and the city’s glittering reputation is sealed. It started in the 1990s when tv cop show Miami Vice helped to glamorise the city; in essence, the growth of many of its swanky nightclubs and condos were bankrolled by the illegal drug trade and criminal underworld. Today, the city’s exclusive bars and clubs draw a host of Hollywood A-listers, jet-setters, models and wannabes.

But there is much more to the city that its superficial trappings of sun, sand and heat. It is fast becoming one of the most exciting cultural cities in the United States. The Wynwood Arts District and Miami Design District are thriving hubs for the arts. Meanwhile, 2013 will see the Miami Art Museum move to new premises in the middle of a sprawling museum park at Biscayne Bay. In 2014, it will be joined by a new science museum harnessing energy from the water, sun and wind, and featuring a 600,000 gallon acquarium and a 3D planetarium. In 2011, the Frank Gehry-created New World Center created waves of excitement thanks to its show-stopping, post-modernist design that offers something else to gawp at in Miami Beach. In addition, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has recently benefitted from a multi-million dollar refurb that has tripled its gallery space.

Meanwhile, for food aficionados, the city’s dining scene offers an eclectic mix. Of course, it pays to try some Cuban food; arroz con pollo (baked chicken with saffron rice) or the ubiquitous platanos (fried plantains) are ubiquitous, as is yuca, a potato-like vegetable. But there’s something for every palate, including steakhouses, Japanese, Italian, and New World cuisine, a mouth-watering blend of local produce, Latin American and Caribbean fare.

If you want to explore beyond Miami, then head west to the Everglades, a sprawling flooded wetland and home to wild alligators. Alternatively, seek out classy Fort Lauderdale to the north; bohemian Florida Keys to the south or Biscayne National Park for some manatee-spotting, snorkelling, diving or canoeing.

All this only serves to underline the one ethos that Miami locals abide by: life here is not about work but plenty of play.
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